The Old Breed: The United States Marine Corps

| Australian - American RelationsThe Old Breed

| Guadalcanal

Specialising in amphibious landings, the U.S. Marine Corps is an elite voluntary force, ‘a breed apart’ from other branches of the American military.  Its reputation for daring exploits was firmly established in the Pacific during World War II. The First Marine Division is famous for its combat record at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

90 per cent of those Marines stationed in Melbourne in 1943 enlisted in a surge of patriotism and were attracted to the prestige and rigorous training of the Corps. The majority were under twenty years of age, and came from all regions of the U.S.  Most were from agricultural or blue-collar backgrounds and a considerable number were the sons of recent immigrants to America.

The Marine Corps motto ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine’ is not taken lightly.  As a veteran says: ‘The Marines Corps is probably the best military outfit for moulding men into thinking they are the best there is and that they are invincible. You never cease to be a Marine until you die. There are no ex-Marines, only dead ones’.


Image: George McMillan, The Old Breed: A History of the First
Marine Division in World War II, 1949.
~ Rachel Jenzen Private Collection:
donated by Colonel Mark Paul Fennessy ~

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